By Rob Arndt

Since the early beginning of 1942, the Waffenamt des Heeres (German Army Weapons Department) had devoted itself to designing a new series of small tank hunters.

By late 1943 BMW and Wesserhütte were contracted to design a small, formidable tank destroyer - the Kleinpanzerjäger “Rutscher” ( Small Panzer Hunter “Slider“). But the short-lived project came to an abrupt end in February of 1944 in favor of the established Panzer Jäger 38(t) “Hetzer“, because the chassis of the (former Czech tank) Pz.38(t) was a very solid and dependable basis for both a weapons carrier as well as a light tank destroyer.


However, with the very precarious war situation of available armored fighting vehicles and the critical spare parts situation the “small tank destroyer” project  was reactivated in January 1945 since by that time the role of the offensive tank weapon had changed purely to an armored defensive weapon. At the same time, less value was placed on hopelessly large cannon calibers and heavy tank armor; the precedence now placed on agility and speed.


Thus, BMW’s project Rutscher got a new opportunity for success.


The following technical equipment was planned for the “Rutscher“: an inline 3.5 liter six cylinder 90 hp BMW CM3 Type 335 motor and Allklauen ZF 5-25 gearbox. The planned technical construction and equipment was to be state-of- the-art German engineering of 1945; however, the most interesting feature of the “Rutscher” would be its cleverly chosen main armament- two 80mm Rheinmetall Panzerabwehr-Wurfkanone PAW-600 8H63 high/low pressure guns. These were recoilless cannons according to the high/low pressure principle in which the ignition occurs in a high pressure cylinder. By means of a sophisticated nozzle disk, the ignited gas then streams into a low pressure cylinder. Once a certain pressure is reached, the fin-stabilized shell frees itself from the cartridge and exits the smooth-bore barrel. During firing tests, ranges of 2,000 meters were achieved with a muzzle velocity of 550 mps.


The “Rutscher” type of construction made it possible to lower both its weight as well as the required man-hours in the manufacture of the guns by a wide margin.


The “Rutscher“, however, was only a typical ‘Paper Projekt’ by 1945; one that only existed as a drawing board weapon, although it did result in a full-size wooden mock-up.


Technical Information:

Manufacturer: Weserhütte Bad Oeynhausen (mock-up only)

Crew:   2

Fighting Weight: 38.5 tons

Length: 3.55 m (w/o gun) and 4.85 m (with gun)

Width: 1.85 m

Height: 1.36m (over all)

Engine: BMW Type 335 3.5L 6 cylinder @ 90 hp (3,500 rpm),

Transmission: Voith hydraulic-variable

Gearbox: Allklauen ZF 5-25

Speed: 60-70 km/h (est)

Armor: 8-14.5mm (The hull sides were inclined inwards)

Armament: 2 x 80mm Panzerwurfkanone PAW-600 8H63


There was also to be a support ammunition-carrier:


Fighting Weight: 3,000 kg

Payload: 1,000 kg

Length: 3.55 m

Width: 1.85 m

Height: 1.00 m (w/o superstructure)


Rival Porsche 255 design

Porsche Type 250 - Sonderfahrzeug VI / Porsche Type 255 
May of 1944


  • Typ 250 - hydraulically powered turret.
  • Typ 255 - mechanically powered turret.
  • Sturmgeschütz 27t - Porsche E-25 Jagdpanzer design.
  • Assault Gun / Tank Destroyer.
  • Armament: 105mm MK (KwK) or 105mm PAW 100 or 105mm leFH 43 gun & 30mm MK 108 (Flak) gun.
  • Crew: 4 men / Weight: 26000kg / Armor: 30-120mm / Max.Speed: 57km/h.




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